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SPR Presents Mark & Maggie O'Connor - American Classics Oct. 6

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Spokane Public Radio

SPR presented one of America's musical icons live in concert at the Bing Crosby Theater on Oct. 6. Mark and Maggie O’Connor - American Classics featured music from the more advanced selections of his violin training program. 

This SPR Presents was made possible in part by Event Donors The Cleaning Authority, Dodson's Jewelers, MTR Communications and Sam Rodell, Architects.

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Credit Spokane Public Radio
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Spokane Public Radio
Mark O'Connor

Mr. O'Connor, a multi Grammy winning violinist and composer, has composed nine full length concertos that have received more performances than any other concertos composed in the last 50 years. His near iconic “Appalachia Waltz” is one of the most performed string pieces written since Barber's Adagio. He is currently artist-in-residence at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.

A product of America's rich aural folk tradition as well as classical music, Mark O'Connor's creative journey began at the feet of a pair of musical giants. The first was the folk fiddler and innovator, Benny Thomasson and the second was French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. Working with classical violin icons Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Yehudi Menhuin and Pinchas Zukerman, he absorbed knowledge and influence from the multitude of musical styles and genres he studied and participated in. With his body of work including 45 feature albums of mostly his own compositions, Mark O’Connor has melded and shaped these influences into a new American Classical music, and a vision of an entirely American school of string playing.

Among the highlights of Mr. O’Connor’s multiple Grammy-winning recordings are “Appalachia Waltz” with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer spending a year atop the Billboard classical music charts. With more than 250 performances, O’Connor’s "Fiddle Concerto" released on Warner Bros. has become the most-performed modern violin concerto composed in the last 50 years. The "Americana Symphony” recorded by Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony is a first for a modern-day violinist. “The Improvised Violin Concerto” released in 2012 is the first of its kind in violin history.

Videos of Mark and Maggie O'Connor Performing

At age 13, O’Connor was the youngest person ever to win national fiddling competitions competing against all ages, amateur and professional. He is still the only person to ever win national titles (open to all ages) on fiddle, guitar and mandolin and he won a record-breaking six CMA Musician Of The Year awards. Mr. O'Connor was a member of three important and influential bands; the David Grisman Quintet. The Dregs and Strength in Numbers. During his twenties, Mr. O'Connor became the most in-demand session musician in Nashville appearing on 500 albums.

The O'Connor Method was released in 2009 as "an American grown rival to the Suzuki method" (The New Yorker). It takes an American Classical approach to modern violin playing, offering a technical foundation using American classics. The groundbreaking method is the first string method to feature all American music including the violin duos on Mark and Maggie's Duos, found in the advanced level of Book IV and V of the series. Mr. O'Connor performs on a Jonathon Cooper violin and D’Addario Strings, and the O'Connors reside in New York City.

Historical Retrospective on O'Connor by Huffington Post